Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Olive Garden owner goes Green

April 7, 2010

olivegardenDarden Restaurants, owner of restaurant brands like the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, has joined the Sustainability Consortium — a group of scientists, academics and industry leaders working to “green” consumer products. 

Darden, an 1,800-unit restaurant chain considered one of the industry’s best performers, has set a per-restaurant goal of reducing energy and water use by 15 percent by the year 2015. Long term, it aims to send zero waste to landfills.

Darden said it already has cut water use by about 700,000 gallons per year in each of its restaurants, installed energy-efficient lighting and has begun using “power up” schedules that help cut energy consumption.

“Our business relies on a number of natural resources, and these goals are designed to help us be the best stewards of those resources that we can be,” said Ian Olson, director of sustainability for Darden, which operates 1,800 eateries. 

Other Sustainability Consortium members include Wal-Mart Stores, Safeway, Best Buy, PepsiCo, Tyson, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Intel and Waste Management.

The technology companies in the consortium said they were committed to creating what they say is a better way to identify the most environmentally friendly consumer electronics.

For its part, Wal-Mart is working on its own index that could be used as an industry standard. The retailer provided seed funding for the Sustainability Consortium.

(Reuters photo)

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